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Bahrain releases child prisoner

Bahraini authorities have released an 11-year-old detainee who was imprisoned for nearly a month, his lawyer told reporters on Tuesday. Ali Hasan Alqudaihi was arrested on May 14 for allegedly attending an illegal gathering [CNN report]. The boy was accused of deliberately blocking traffic with several other individuals. The Bahrain Center For Human Rights (BCHR) [advocacy website] called for his release [press release] last week, accusing the government of targeting children under the age of 15. BCHR claims that children under 15 cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions in Bahrain. The group said that Alqudaihi was the youngest detainee in the country.

Tension between Bahrain's government and protesters has escalated recently. Prominent rights activist and BCHR president Nabeel Rajab was arrested and returned to prison [JURIST report] last week after posting critical comments about the government on his social media page. Last week, pro-democracy activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] ended his hunger strike [JURIST report] weeks after he and 20 other incarcerated protestors were granted a retrial [JURIST report] by a Bahrain appeals court. Last month, Al-Khawaja's daughter, Zainab Al-Khawaja, was sentenced [JURIST report] to one month in prison for trying to organize an anti-government protest. Earlier in May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for the immediate release [JURIST report] of the leader's of last year's anti-government protests, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

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